How to create an individual development plan

Creating an individual development plan is about bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.

  • Personal: individual, own, unique, special
  • Development: learning, growth, advancement
  • Planning: Getting it on paper, preparation, structure, measurement
    Creating an individual development plan is according to the Corporate Executive Council the second most powerful means of accelerating your personal development.

    It provides a mechanism to allow you to align your needs with that of the organisation.It does that by the following:

  • provides opportunities of mid term thinking
  • thoughtful and structured approach to organising development experiences.
  • tool for project managing your self development.
  • continuing cycle of planning, implementation and reviewing that is mutually beneficial to you and your organisation.

    More information on individual development plans here

    So taking a "me" perspective on an individual development plan

     Knowing what I am trying to accomplish gives me a clear idea of what I’m working on.

    Define The Why.
     Oftentimes, along the way I’ll come across tasks and situation that I simply don’t enjoy doing. Having a personal development plan shows me why I’m doing what I’m doing.

    My Compass.
    I’m a very driven, ambitious person – but if I don’t have a plan of what I’m trying to accomplish, I end up expending energy in many different directions.   A personal development plan keeps me headed towards consistent goals.

    My Map.
    Understanding the journey allows me to track my progress and route

    More on personal development planning here

    Sounds fantastic!
    Unfortunately the CEC research also tells us 65% of employees get
    little or
    no value
    from their individual development plan.

    So how can you stack the odds in your favour of having an effective individual development plan?

  • Line manager buy-in

    An absolute must, get alongside your manager and find out what their priorities are and what keeps them awake at night.Make sure you are clear on their expectations of you and agree what good looks like for your role. Look to identify win:wins where your organisation and manager benefit whilst you get the learning opportunity.

  • Measure it and report progress

    It is an old but true adage what gets measured gets managed. Set goals and shorter milestones so yo can track progress. My recommendation is that you set detailed actions over no more than a 12 week timeframe. If you make it a year it is hard to give your indiviudal development plan the prioritiy and urgency it deserves. Get used to reporting progress to your manager, et them see how serioulsy you are taking your own learning and development

  • Broadcast it – share with team and peers

    This might be a stretch but it is actually fundamental that your coworkers know what you are working on. You might need some support or some honest feedback on how you are going. Yes this is a bit of a marketing exercise but unless people know what you are working on they won't notice any changes you make. There is also an additional benefit of changes in perceptions of your team of you being a great role model and working on your weaknesses.

  • Link it – Performance Reviews & objectives

    Get creative and incorporate learning challenges into you business objectives. Can you find the "sweet spot" of growing your business unit performance whilst growing yourself. If you can you are much more likley to keep yourself "in the game" and maintain your motivation.

  • Use it or lose it!

    Become action orientated. A key component of an action learning approach is to turn thinking and reflection into action. Get used to trying things out and noticing what happens. This means over ruling your hardwiring and being a lot more "present" and aware as you try things out. Learn about the action learning cycle and find ways to make the cycle work for you. Often that means building in some reflection time and the use of learning logs. Spend more time conscioulsy thinking about what you are doing and what has worked or not worked about what you have tried.

  • Know yourself – how you like to learn

    Increase your knowledge on how adults learn (hey there's lots to read on this website) and notice how you learn best. Set aside some time for reflection and thinking and keep connecting with your big picture goals. Set up some processes and practices that will help you learn.

  • Seek feedback & coaching

    You may think you are making process but your is just one view, what about everybody else?

    In fact how confident are you about what others perceive your strengths and weaknesses to be?.

    Would a more formal peer feedback process be useful?

    Maybe you could practice asking for informal feedback from your colleagues?

    Can you tap into any coaching or mentoring resources in or outside your organisation?.

    Who would you need to speak to about getting a coach?

    Are you a member of a professional association that provides free or subdisized mentoring and coaching?

    Work is changing and if you want to get or stay ahead so must you. Getting an individual development plan is a powerful way to help you optimise your learning and growth as you create positive chnage in your bit of your organisation.

    Thought I would sum this up in a great quote from Karen Kaiser Clark.

    “Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”

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